1897 The beginning
On the initiative of Ignác Darányi, then minister of agriculture, the Royal Hungarian Poultry Breeding Farm and Workers’ Training School and the State Bee-Farm /State Apiary were founded on crown estates in Gödöllő in 1897 and 1899, respectively. Both institutions were running independently until 1950, when the Research Institute of Animal Husbandry was founded in Gödöllő. Researches in small animal breeding were conducted here by the Departments of Poultry and Other Small Animal Breeding, Fish Breeding /Farming and Bee-Farming/Apiculture.
1942 Establishment of the Institute for Small Animal Research
In 1952 the agricultural administration established the Institute for Small Animal Research in Gödöllő made of the small animal breeding departments of the former Research Institute of Animal Husbandry. Scientific research and development work was continued here on the already existing bases of poultry breeding, animal feeding, fur animal breeding, bee-farming and fish breeding / bee- and fish farming. At the time Bálint Báldy was the head of the Department of Poultry Breeding, so were Csaba Anghi of the Department of Fur Animal Breeding, Zoltán Örösi Pál of the Department of Bee- Farming and Lajos Jászfalusi of the Department of Fish Breeding/Farming.
Though the institution was restructured in 1962, research and breeding work related to the above mentioned animal species remained its basic duty. In 1968 the Ministry of Agriculture made a decision on the establishment of research bases to comprehend the activity of the given animal breeding sectors. As a result of this, KÁTKI became the scheme leader institution conducting complex research in industrial poultry production, rabbit breeding and bee-farming. From this time the trading of breeding animals based on own breeds has gradually predominated the institute’s activity. This made it necessary to establish a reliable consultancy network as well as industrial and production background. At this time were built the feed mill and the poultry incubator house of the institute as well as its poultry and rabbit farms suitable for breeding industry.
By the mid-1970s the highly profitable poultry and partly the rabbit breeding was taken over by large enterprises and vertical manufacturing plants of agriculture, which gradually acquired monopoly position. In such economic conditions the Institute for Small Animal Research was no longer competitive, and its industrial breeding sectors strengthened at the expense of research became bankrupt.
1952 - 1980 Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Feeding
Following this the Research Centre for Animal Husbandry and Feeding was founded in 1980, by merging the Research Institute of Animal Husbandry at Herceghalom and KÁTKI. Since in course of the decade-long existence of ÁTK, as the merged institution was called, the small animal research units have survived, thus KÁTKI had an opportunity in the early 1990s to become again an autonomous institution.
From 1992, named as Institute for Small Animal Research and Feeding (KÁTKI), the institution functioned first under the financial supervision of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Gödöllő, then from 1994 to 2005 as an independent public body. In this period of time – following several essential reorganizations – the departmental structure of the institution was transformed. Traditional research units were strengthened, and from 1990, with a gradually extending number of breeds and specimens, the establishment of a gene bank in Gödöllő for the now protected indigenous Hungarian poultry breeds has begun.
The supervisory authority closed KÁTKI down with effect from 1st January 2006, and indicated the Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Feeding (ÁTK) seated at Herceghalom as its legal successor. The institution – having suffered further significant dismissals and reorganizations – was able to keep on working as the “research farm” of ÁTK with an actually unchanged scope of duties, named as Department of Small Animal Husbandry/Breeding and Feeding.
KÁTKI, as the only research facility in its field of profession in Hungary, originally dealt with small animal (poultry, rabbit and honey-bee) breeding as well as breed conservation and research. As a special unit of breeding and breed conservation, gene conservation and the establishment of gene banks have been tightly linked to the above mentioned activity from the early 1990s. KÁTKI became the centre for gene conservation of all indigenous Hungarian and several other, formerly naturalized small animal breeds. It has developed unique gene bank stocks of international reputation.
2010 Gene conservation is in the foreground
KÁTKI, additionally to its activities in gene conservation of small animal species and apiculture as well as research and breeding, has also been serving as a meeting point and technical centre for national and international experts of gene conservation and apiary for many decades. (It is well exemplified by the attendance of KÁTKI’s Poultry Gene Bank established in 1990, the Museum of Apiculture built in 1983 and, respectively, the gene bank show farm /(show yard) developed in 2012 for keeping indigenous large animals.) Due to this, the former scope of activity of the institution has significantly expanded; its research and gene conservation activity has been supplemented by the implementation and management of the national co-ordination of gene conservation, a wide range of technical education and model schemes of rural development.
2013 Farm Animal Gene Conservation Center
In 2013, the name of the KÁTKI was changed to the Farm Animal Gene Conservation Center (HáGK), which more precisely expressed the wide-ranging gene conservation activities carried out with old Hungarian farm animals, the protection and rescue of old breeds, rural development and utilization programs, research and education.
2019 National Center for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation
The National Center for Biodiversity and Gene Conservation was established on June 1, 2019 by integrating the Farm Animal Gene Conservation Center into the Plant Diversity Center. At the same time, the name of the institution changed to the Institute for Farm Animal Conservation (NBGK HGI).